Beginner Category?

After this long discussion on [ANN] Archiving some Discord channels; musing on a new server

It seems like it would be nice to make one of the categories a beginners category where people could post ANY question no matter how “dumb”. I think having a category and it being prominent on this forum would help foster these kinds of questions being here.

Right now the feed is full of super experienced questions about complex topics. I want more questions like, “When should I use a Record V.S. an Object?” “How do I bind to lodash?” and such.

I admit it’s perhaps not quite as informal as chat, but it seems like it might help some users avoid the fear of asking a question if their question is next to a bunch of other beginner questions.

I know that some people like the idea that their chat not getting too much attention, but I still feel like a beginner getting too much attention is better than a beginner is struggling but the right person isn’t online to help them at that moment and they get forgotten.

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Hey Justgage =)

This is a bit tricky, and although we want the same thing as you, we’re gonna instead do something else that’s similar in spirit but not in implementation:

Your mentions of “record vs object” and “bind to lodash” are actually good questions, as many such have lots of depth (simple question doesn’t mean shallow answer). These should be the norm in general discussion; we should all aspire to ask and answer these, instead of many other “super experienced” questions which often aren’t a reflection of experience but rather obtuse/misguided language usage (complicated questions can look like expert topics but often aren’t). Fencing off your examples of good questions into a “beginner” section creates the opposite incentive:

  1. It gives the impression that your example questions are for newbs and that one should “graduate” into more complicated questions and usages. Don’t!
  2. Likewise, many semi-experienced folks should actually aspire to simplify their language usage and questions, but would have instead misunderstood what constitutes a normal question & answer. I’m not nitpicking: this happens a lot.

It’s a real issue in many FP communities that folks confuse complication with expertise, and simplification with ignorance. We’re actually trying to accomplish this meme here, aiming for first and tenth year in terms of Q&A and not the middle parts. Turns out the expert topics can be followed by newcomers too (though not understood by them yet; that’d take time and effort).

It’s late and there’s too much to say on this topic; I’m not sure I’m explaining the nuances well but I’ll stop here. Here’s what we’re actually gonna do though:

  1. Yes, we’d like newcomers to be comfortable. As a matter of fact, based on this post, we’ve just modified our welcome post that every new user gets to clarify these points a little.
  2. To encourage the right model, we should instead nudge out a good chunk of the existing complicated usage questions (which are usually asked by non-beginners actually). This takes time.
  3. We’re gonna think of tagging some questions as good questions, to make it clear which ones we encourage. This is a much more visible and welcoming thing that newcomers can imitate; if you see such tag (e.g. “good question”) then you know asking those is totally encouraged; this can bring so much more comfort than a beginner section, without the problematic incentives above.
  4. We might revisit this decision one day.

Hope that makes sense?

Regarding chat: btw thanks for voicing your concern about it a long time ago. It seems the Elm community is also having such struggle, and I’m glad we took the initiative here.

9 Likes

Great idea. Because I’m not only a rescript beginner but a functional programming beginner. I got drawn here because I found out Jane Street uses OCaml and Rust was first compiled from OCaml so the style of programming (which is unknown to many) can even make frontend dev more useful.